Do you struggle to keep up with all your reading?

If you find that you’re not keeping up with all your reading and feeling uncomfortable (or even guilty) about it, here’s a tip that might help.

Many times when you receive an email that requires reading, you either move it to a reading folder or leave it in the inbox, hoping to get back to it ‘later’. But, of course, that ‘later’ never comes!

The trick to gaining control of this aspect of your worklife is to better handle the email when you first see it, by using David Allen’s 2 minute rule and his principle of asking yourself ‘what is the next action for this message.

You don’t have to read the whole material right there and then, but you can spend up to 2 minutes to scan/skim it and then make a decision about the next action. 

At the end of 2 minutes you will have read enough to know whether to delete it, spend another 5 minutes on it, print it off (to take as reading material next time you’re travelling etc) or to book a longer time in your calendar to fully read, review, digest or take action on the content.

This technique will allow you to quickly process the vast volume of reading material that comes your way, handle it only once at the inbox level, and stay current with all that you need to be across in your role and in your areas of interest and influence.

Now, allowing yourself time (ie: up to 2 minutes) to read enough to make a good decision about each email is much more likely to happen if you look at email in predefined daily time slots (the #1 solution for controlling information overload).

This allows you to give it your whole attention, rather than read it in a hurried, distracted way when it arrives unexpectedly as an interruption.

Try this over the next few days and see for yourself how you’ll comfortably be able keep up to date.

Finally, if you find you’re not getting back to the more lengthy reading items, the trick is to book time in your calendar (with a reminder). If keeping up with your reading is important for your role, treat it as just as legitimate an activity as a meeting or appointment and book time to accomplish it.

It’s one of the key things that separates the leaders in their field from the others!

All the best

 Steuart Snooks